Monday, February 25, 2008

Victoria to Phoenix to Flagstaff

I flew out to Victoria on Wednesday, and stayed that night at Joel’s. After swimming the next morning, we went to pick up the rental van that I’d be driving down to Phoenix, and ultimately up to Flagstaff. Thursday afternoon was spent driving around collecting cross bikes and extra luggage from everyone, and then the fun task of loading up the van and catching the 4pm ferry to Port Angeles, WA.

The van almost loaded, it's still missing a few bags, and a big heat tent that we brought down for heat specific training for the group going straight to the Mooloolaba World Cup from Flagstaff.

Andrew McCartney and I were in the ferry line at 2:30pm to ensure that we made it onto that ferry. We set sail at 4pm heading for the States. After clearing customs on the other side (6pm), it was time to start the long haul of almost 2600 kms to Phoenix Arizona.

The first stretch of driving is along a single lane highway, and it was dark at that time as well. By 815 or so, we had merged onto the I-5 which we would stay on until we reached Los Angeles CA. I drove until 2:30am which got me to about 50 miles north of Grant's Pass Oregon (750km total). I pulled over to sleep for a few hours, getting back on the road at 5:45am. I figure I had about 2 hrs of fractured sleep....I woke up at one point freezing cold, and had to start the van to get the heat going so it would warm up!

I entered northern California soon afterwards, where there is some higher elevation, and hence some snow. I drove through some snow flurries, even driving past a car that had flipped off the road. I made sure to be extra cautious, especially the downhills, as I wasn't familiar with the big rental van.

I ended up driving 1800km on the last day, which included driving through the outer limits of Los Angeles during rush hour on a Friday evening (6pm). Probably not the greatest thing, but that's how things worked out. Rush hour sucked, as you can see from the following photo.

Andrew was my driving partner, well....let me clarify. He drove with me, but I did all the driving, as he is technically too young to drive the rental van. Instead, he spent a fair amount of the drive in this position, while I was driving through the night and day.

I finally rolled into Phoenix, and arrived at our hotel in Fountain Hills at 2am local time. A total of 31 hours since we left the Port Angeles ferry terminal, and I covered 2575km. The last stretch of the drive on Friday night through the California desert was a bit I had a few caffeine pills, a couple cans of Pepsi, and had the window rolled down for fresh air. I was really looking forward to a cold beer after that long drive, but I couldn't find a gas station from the highway in to our hotel, so I was out of luck.

We raced the Desert Duathlon on Sunday, which on a whole went well for the group. Paul had a wicked race, coming away with the Win, followed by Jordan in 2nd place. Simon was also in the money (4th) while Kyle was the last guy to get a pay cheque in 7th place. Spending 31hrs in the car, without much sleep doesn't lend itself well to racing 27 hours later. Oh well. It done, and out of the way, and we're up in Flagstaff now ready for four solid weeks of training at altitude (7000ft).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think the team owes you big time Dano. Great driving - glad you arrived safely...